A dual American/Swiss citizen, Robert M. went to the US in July to visit family. He used his US passport and could enter the country with no problems.
“On arrival there was no mention of any locally required quarantine. They just took my temperature and gave me a leaflet about Covid-19 prevention. I was out the airport in 20 minutes”.
On his return trip from Miami this weekend, the American passport didn’t suffice.
“The check-in agent at the airport asked me if I also have a Schengen passport. She said that without it, I couldn’t take the flight as I’d not be allowed into Switzerland”, Robert said.
That is in line with the regulations issued by Swiss authorities prohibiting United States residents from coming to Switzerland due to America’s soaring Covid-19 infection rate.
The same ban is in place in many other EU states.
A total of 41 other nations are on Switzerland's list as well.
The only travellers from the US authorised to enter Switzerland are Swiss citizens and permanent residents returning home. Robert fell into that category.
At the beginning of the flight an announcement was made about Switzerland’s mandatory 10-day quarantine for arrivals from the United States and a “Contact Tracing Card” was distributed to each passenger.
These cards, which had to be filled out with everyone’s name, Swiss address and phone number, are collected on board and then given to the health authorities charged with monitoring the quarantine compliance.
This step was decided on in mid-July, following reports that most returnees from high-risk countries don’t comply with the quarantine requirement.
There were also news reports in the Swiss media last week that the Zurich airport also collects — independently of the airlines — data on passengers arriving from a country at risk.
However, neither Robert nor other passengers on his Zurich-bound flight, were asked to fill out such documents at the airport.
On the other hand, some passengers from the flight were interrogated by Zürich passport control agents about their reasons for coming to Switzerland.
We would like to know about your experiences returning to Switzerland from a country at risk, as well as the subsequent quarantine for future articles. Get in touch with us by emailing [email protected]